Q & A With Donna Blair Bang-for-Your-Buck Home Improvements

Recently, Donna Blair, President and Founder of Blairfield Realty, shared her thoughts about some home improvements that will go a long way toward increasing the value of your property. Whether you’re looking to sell or just take good care of your biggest investment, here are a few tips to consider:

Q: Which remodeling projects tend to recoup the highest percent of a homeowner’s investment?

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Donna Blair, President of Blairfield Realty

A: I can’t stress enough the importance of curb appeal. A home improvement doesn’t have to cost a ton of money to make a big difference in how your home looks to others. For example, things like new windows and new siding can do wonders. Even replacing your door handles, pulls and hinges, and updating your light fixtures will make a difference.

As far as mid-range projects go, removing popcorn ceilings instantly updates a home, as does replacing an old front door with one that has a newer, more modern design. New flooring is also a great way to change the look of your home.

Q: What about the more expensive projects? Which of these tend to bring the most bang for a homeowner’s buck?

A: Done well, a kitchen or bath remodel can add a lot to the resale value of your home. I recommend going with a clean, neutral design and colors that won’t be out of style a few years down the road.

Q: Are there any remodeling projects that you would discourage?

A: Converting a garage is a big no in my book. The additional living space you create is not going to translate into additional square footage when it comes time to sell. Plus, lots of people still want the covered area for their cars and the additional storage a garage creates. You’re better off adding a room if you need extra space.

Likewise, converting a bedroom into a home office probably isn’t the best use of your money. If you want to use a spare room as an office, opt for furniture that you can remove. Built-in bookshelves or cabinets make it harder for the next buyer to convert the room back into a bedroom (or even envision the room as anything but an office).

There are a couple more things I would avoid on a remodel. The first is enclosing any windows—the more light there is in your home, the better. The second is using different types of flooring in the main area of your home. It can really disrupt the flow.

Q: What other tips can you share with homeowners on a limited budget?

A: Maintenance is key. Fixing a cracked driveway, caulking and painting your exterior siding, keeping your trees trimmed, changing your A/C filter and checking for wood rot are examples of general home maintenance tasks that are relatively inexpensive to complete—and by staying on top of these things, you’ll catch problems early and actually save money in the long run. Finally, remember that you won’t necessarily get all of your investment back when it’s time to sell your home, so concentrate on making the improvements you’ll enjoy the most.

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